JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER BAND, IT STARTED IN THE GARAGE.
Two young kids playing Greenday covers on a Stratocaster and no microphone decided to enter a battle of the bands at lead guitarist and founder, Juliana’s high school. It was called the Gig and they didn’t think they would even be considered, seeing as how they had only recorded a version of Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne that consisted of synth drums and Juliana’s Dad playing bass. They were not a band. Crazier things have happened, but lo and behold, they got in and had about 2 weeks to come up with a band and 3 songs to play on stage. Enter Duke and Donna.
Duke was a drummer from Korea they found on craigslist. Quiet personality, killer percussionist. Duke had excellent timing and was more experienced playing with other people. Donna was just in the right place at the right time. Juliana was sitting in the quad at school trying to think of how to find a bass player when she noticed a Fender patch on a girl’s backpack. On a hunch, she asked the girl if she played bass. After little conversation, it was apparent that Donna could jam. Thus the first formal line up of Crimes of Passion was born.
Practice was almost every day for two weeks before the show. Unfortunately, there was a falling out the night before the show with the singer. A very good friend and versatile musician, Andre, stepped up and sang the next evening at the Gig with one practice under his belt, and boy did he convince the audience otherwise.
98.5 KFOX LAST BAND STANDING CONTEST
After the Gig, the band entered a radio contest called Last Band Standing on 98.5 KFOX radio. The band entered the contest as Juliana, Andre, Duke, and Donna, but ended up with a different line up before the contest would be over. Erick on drums, Jesse Battles on vocals, and while Donna was out of town, James on bass. The band got to play at the Kingshead in Campbell (now called the Spot) where they performed a full set of covers.
Jesse and Juliana had been friends since they were children and musically play very well together. They quickly began writing music. The first song they wrote was called The Cigarette Won’t Bleed and it really didn’t make any sense. Later it was revealed that Jesse thought of the name while looking at a picture of John Lennon smoking a cigarette. The second song they wrote together was called Quite Frightening, and Jesse wrote the lyrics to the song in the backseat of Juliana's mom's car on the way to practice. It took about 5 minutes. This version of the band went on for a good while, practicing in drummer Erick’s garage-turned-studio. It was a haven for musicians: filled with amps and drums and guitars and basses galore, all of which were Erick’s fathers who also played in bands. Bassist Donna eventually had to leave for college, and Brandon joined the group. Donna and Brandon both played Crimes of Passion’s first “big” show, opening up for Greg Kihn at his annual Kihncert. Crimes of Passion went on to enter the contest 3 times, making the top 4 each time and earning them a spot on stage at the Kihncerts, and a final 4th time where the won the category for best video.
Crimes of Passion has been fortunate enough to play many exciting and special shows, as well as opening up for some truly incredible bands including the Doobie Brothers, Steve Miller Band, Pat Travers, Greg Kihn, Foghat, and more. Juliana has opened up for Michael Schenkar 5 times playing solo guitar, and the Misfits once. The band does many benefit shows to raise awareness for causes and raise money for those in need. Juliana’s mom, Lois, has managed the band and put on many of these benefit shows herself in order to help friends affiliated with different organizations. The most recent benefit was a bake sale for No Kid Hungry, where over $1100.00 was raised and donated.
Lead guitarist Juliana started playing guitar, influenced heavily by Randy Rhoads. She played a blue Jackson Kelle on stage and took every opportunity she could to shred (not much has changed, the Kelle is green and a USA model). At a NAMM show one year while playing with a string company who endorsed her called Sfarzo Strings, Juliana met some of the Jackson Guitar crew. They ended up endorsing her and she has been faithfully playing and loving Jackson guitars ever since. Another year, she was endorsed by Steve Clayton Picks USA as well. These were great fits for Juliana because she already used the products made by these companies. Juliana has attended and played at 2 NAMM shows. One year Jesse attended NAMM as well, where they hoped to meet Jerry Only of the Misfits, but he was not there. Juliana did however meet Mr. Only when opening up for the Misfits at the Avalon in Santa Clara.
The band has had several different members, Juliana and Jesse being the only original members. There was even one memorable gig where the band had to go to a show without at drummer, and ended up having three different drummers that night. It was at a place called Nickel City, and they had never played there before. They had been playing with a friend named Johnny who was a great drummer. As they were leaving for the show, Johnny called and said he couldn’t play the show because he got grounded! Juliana called everyone she knew but alas there was no other option than to go stag. So they arrived at the show and announced to the audience that they didn’t have a drummer and if there were any in the crowd who would like to play with them, please come up and do so. It was not their best night, but still all in good fun.
42 MEMBERS LATER..
Today the band is made up of Juliana - lead guitar, vocals, song writing; Jesse Battles - rhythm guitar, vocals, song writing; newest member Greg Schrader - vocals, keys; Ramin Tawakuli - drums/percussion, backing vocals; and Ryan Topete - bass, backing vocals. Here's a graphic representation of the many different members of Crimes of Passion. These are the names of people who practiced and played at least one show as part of the band.
FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND THE "MOMAGER"
Crimes of Passion has been extremely lucky to have such an amazing support group of family and friends. One constant force driving the band is Juliana's mom, Lois. Early on in the band, Lois agreed to help Juliana book shows and generally manage the band because she had managed Juliana's dad's bands before and was experienced in dealing with clubs and whatnot. Plus she was not a 16 year old begging for shows. Lois is not your typical "band mom" who interferes with the bands direction, descisions, or ideas. She supports the band however she can and tries to let the band do what ever it is that the band needs to do. When moral is low, she has helped get things going again. Without the help of Lois, the band would probably not be what it is today. When Crimes of Passion won the Last Band Standing contest on KFOX radio, the prize was a guitar, which the whole band signed and gave to Lois as thanks for all she had done for the band. Juliana's dad, Tom, has also been super supportive in running sound, moving equipment, giving rides to band members, recording and mixing, and fillinf in on bass from time to time. Our friends have been attending shows faithfully since the beginning, and for that we are forever greatful. Juliana even had an art teacher in high school, Charlotte Kruk (look her up, her art is amazing!) who made it homework to check out the band and support us in an earlier radio contest for KFOX.
MEET THE CURRENT BAND
As mentioned before, JESSE and JULIANA met when they were just kids, and have been playing music together since they were 15 and 16 years old. Juliana got Jesse to sing for her band when she was about to leave for practice one night and had just been told that her singer would not be playing with them any more. She called up Jesse after remembering a time when he had played and sang a parody of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin at her house. The conversation went something like this:
“Hey how’s it going? Wanna sing in my band?”
“Okay we’re about to practice, we can pick you up.”
Juliana’s biggest influences are Randy Rhoads, Danny Elfman, Of Montreal, Joan Jett, Blondie, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Flock of Seagulls, the Clash, and too many more to count.
Jesse’s biggest influences are Syd Barrett, John Lennon, Joshua Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Trent Reznor (NIN), and Velvet Underground.
THOMAS began singing lead vocals for the band in 2017, and has also added his violin skills to the mix. Thomas is influenced by the Beatles, and anything jazz.
RAMIN joined the band through one of the older bass players named Igor. The two being great friends played together in the band for a while. Ramin brings a level of maturity and responsibility to the band while also adding a lot of fun that was much needed. His laid back nature does not reflect his monstrous drumming. Ramin’s biggest influences are Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, UFO, and Led Zeppelin.
RYAN didn’t play bass when he met the band. Juliana’s mom Lois struck up a conversation with him at show they played at the county faire, and he offered to help carry the equipment. After that, he stuck around and helped the band at all their shows, sort of fulfilling the “roadie” roll. There came a point in the band where the members were all shifting around and Juliana did not have a bass player or a drummer. She knew Ryan could play guitar and asked him if he’d be interested in learning how to play bass for the band. He was down, and they worked on the songs in the garage using a drum machine by BOSS that they called Dr. Fill. It was a DR 670. Ryan’s biggest influences are Metallica (Cliff Burton and James Hetfield), Faith No More, Misfits, Motorhead (Lemmy), Dimebag Darrel, and Iron Maiden.
A recurring and unintentional theme of the color orange has seemed to attach itself to the band. It was first noticed when Juliana began playing Orange amps, which matched Ryan's orange bass, which matched Ramin's orange drums. Not to leave Jesse out of the orange loop, Juliana put orange neon strings on his guitar. Just when they weren't expecting any more orangeness, Greg brought over an orange music stand. Other instances of orange seem to creep up every now and then.
So with an odd afinity for the color orange, the band marches on and continues to write, perform, record, and make music. They play all original songs now, with a few covers sprinkled here and there, and have an EP for sale under the music section of this website.